CONTRIBUTION BY THE HON. DONALD BUCHANAN MP, MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND DEVELOPMENT, TO THE SECTORAL DEBATE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


I am indebted to a number of persons whose support enables me to address this Honourable House today and to report on the stewardship of the Government in the area of Information and Development.
The Most Honourable Prime Minister, for the confidence she has invested in me, entrusting to my care and leadership, this vital portfolioMy colleagues in the Government and the PartyConstituents, who continue to support meMy family, whose love sustains meAnd the people of Jamaica, who have always inspired me.
I am part of a movement that from its inception has always articulated and advanced a master plan for the political, economic and social development of Jamaica. An earlier generation of progressive stalwarts, led by Rt. Excellent Norman Washington Manley, having secured political independence for Jamaica, history has bequeathed to the current generation of leaders, the awesome responsibility for achieving economic and social development. It is a responsibility which we on this side take very seriously.
A fundamental feature of our approach to governance has been a comprehensive development programme for taking Jamaica and its people as one family, boldly into the future. Ours has been a mission to transform the Jamaican economy and society to improve the lives of our people. In so doing we continue to place the Jamaican people at the centre of development.
Mr. Speaker:
By deliberate design, my presentation today is intended to let Parliament and the country know that development is happening at a rapid rate.
In doing so, I will:
Provide an outline of the phenomenal advances that constitute an ongoing revolution in the information sector
Highlight some major development initiatives which are transforming the physical and economic landscape of Jamaica
Tell Parliament and the country about the thousands of new jobs that are being created for our family members- the people of Jamaica
To elaborate on the work of the various entities within the portfolio of Information and Development, several Ministry Papers are being laid on the Table of the House simultaneous with my presentation. They cover the work of the:
. Information Division. Values and Attitudes Secretariat. Jamaica Information Service. Access to Information Unit. Creative Production and Training Centre. Jamaica Archives and Records Department. Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica. Broadcasting Commission. Cinematographic Authority. Jamaica Trade and Invest (formerly Jampro)
Mr. Speaker,
Much has been accomplished in the areas of my portfolio responsibility.
Public Information
This Administration remains committed to the principle and practice of good governance underpinned by open, honest communication with our people. In communicating as one family, shaping the future together, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Government are mandated to observe the hallmarks of truth, honesty, clarity and sensitivity, as important pillars vital to creating an informed society.
The Jamaica Information Service, an Executive Agency of Government, is the principal organ mandated by law, to provide public information in Jamaica and overseas, about the policies and programmes of the Government of Jamaica. The JIS will continue to lead the process of informing Jamaicans at home and abroad about the policy priorities of the Government.
Building on the success of past initiatives, including the establishment of digital facilities, the Agency has, in the last financial year, exceeded its performance targets and generally, has performed well in carrying out its functions.
In the current fiscal year and beyond, with new leadership the JIS, intends to transform the promotion of information about the system and activities of government.
Government policies and programmes have consistently been enunciated across the electronic media through the daily flagship programme, Jamaica Magazine, as well as other radio and television productions. The daily dissemination of news and feature articles to media houses, and to the public via the JIS website, continues to be vital to the process of government communication.
The Agency has also anchored critical public education programmes in the areas of National Security, Health, Poverty Eradication, Agriculture, Rural Water Supply and Education Transformation.
The JIS not only boasts its own impressive website providing information and links to all Government Ministries and a number of public entities, but has in the past year established and maintained websites, all of first class quality, for public bodies. This has increased and improved Government’s ability to communicate with its constituents and partners – chief among them being the Jamaican people at home and in the Diaspora. The JIS Website has registered over 5 million hits per month in the past year.
The Agency, having pursued a path of structural changes and visionary leadership is now a credible source of Government information and is highly and widely regarded in the Caribbean as a model for Government Information Services across the region. Tribute is paid to Mrs. Carmen Tipling, who for seven years was at the helm as Chief Executive Officer, and charted this exemplary course for the Agency. We wish Mr. Huntley Medley, who now takes over the mantle of leadership at the JIS, every success in meeting the demands of new policy thrusts.
The Agency will, in this financial year concentrate on, among other things, enhancing communication between Government and the people by introducing mechanisms to capture and reflect the views of the public, so that public feedback can be brought to the attention of the Government in a structured and dependable framework. This strategy, coupled with innovations in the promotion of the system and activities of government, will keep citizens informed about initiatives being implemented to address their needs and concerns. The JIS will also increasingly devote more attention to providing national public information geared towards enabling more Jamaicans to understand and accept their responsibilities as members of the Jamaican society.
Mr. Speaker:
This is critical for keeping our citizens informed about the policies and programmes which are being implemented to address their needs and concerns. Enhanced information flow is also vital for enabling all Jamaicans to understand and accept their civic duties as responsible members of the Jamaican family.
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MINISTRY PAPER 06-07
Ministry Paper, Office of the Prime Minister, Information Portfolio

JIS Social